A few years ago in a solo protest, I vowed not to shop anywhere that promoted the holiday season before Thanksgiving. And yet as I pumped gas in the balmy, 79 degree LA weather in late October, I spied an inflatable snowman in the store window and sighed in surrender.
Despite candy canes appearing side by side with candy corn, the holiday season kicks into high gear on Black Friday. A few years ago, Cyber Monday was added, and last year to the joy of the philanthropic community, a national day of giving, Giving Tuesday, joined the holiday season.
December 3 will be the second Annual Giving Tuesday and for nonprofits, this is a perfect opportunity to garner donations from eager shoppers and the procrastinators who still need more tax write offs. With no shortage of organizations to give to, how do you ensure your cause is heard in the din?
1. Make it a gift. It’s the holiday season; people are already in “gift-giving” mode. Either identify a specific in kind donation (like school supplies, shoes, toys) or match a dollar amount to a specific need. In the past, it was more acceptable to solicit donations for a general cause; however, with the rise in the (rightful) demand for fiscal transparency, donors want to know exactly how their money is spent. This is why Angel Trees are so popular. (Note: Attaching dollar amounts to specific initiatives is a good year-round policy, but especially important for holiday campaigns.)
Case Study: Charity Miles has a Giving Tuesday challenge to feed people affected by the typhoon in the Philippines. Learn more here!
2. Make it a trend. Don’t assume people know about Giving Tuesday; educate potential donors. Include a Giving Tuesday call to action in your mail appeal, e-newsletter, social media, blog and any marketing collateral. Partner with local blogs, publications, and media outlets to get the word out. Giving Tuesday makes for a great holiday story and human interest narrative. Let Giving Tuesday be the cover of your website and your Facebook page. People enjoy being part of a larger movement; help them connect to the Giving Tuesday moment and holiday season by educating them about it – and your cause.
Suggested Messaging: “After years of elbowing parents for the last Tickle-Me-Elmo on Black Friday, Giving Tuesday offers a much more relaxed shopping experience. You want in? Join us!”
3. Make it easy. While it is still true that the most valuable donors -the 55+ crowd- give via the mail, donors aged 25 – 54 are more likely to give online 1 and Millennials propensity for giving is even stronger. A whopping 84% of young adults (roughly 18-34 years old) preferred method of giving is either via website or mobile website.2 Donating as a part of Giving Tuesday should be as easy as a few clicks. Even many traditional Black Friday sales have moved online with Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday should be no different. A campaign centered on a specific day needs an opportunity for a quick transaction.
Suggested Donation Outlets: Website, Mobile App, In Kind Collection “centers” at places people frequent like grocery stores, convenience stores, daycares, schools, and other community centers.
4. Make it a tradition. Research shows that people give to nonprofits they’ve previously given to. Many families consider Black Friday shopping a holiday tradition and there’s no reason why Giving Tuesday should be any different. While people may see an investment in a single day of giving as wasteful, they fail to see the potential value of a long time Giving Tuesday donor. Furthermore, donors who have a positive experience or commitment to your non-profit are more likely to give to your cause throughout the year.
Suggested Messaging: “This Giving Tuesday, start a family tradition of giving to higher education. Invest in the education of a needy student today!”